THE LOST HEIR JOB
The Lost Heir Job looks like a straightforward episode on first viewing. Ruth Bennett (Anna Campbell) works for a non-profit organization that helps children in foster care find permanent homes. When the story unfolds, she is sneaking into the hospital to visit Bennett Kimball – an elderly supporter of her foundation who she obviously cares for very much. Kimball is in failing health, and his attorney is highly motivated to keep him and Ruth apart.
Ruth goes to meet with Nate, and reveals that Kimball’s behavior is completely out of character; that before he was sequestered by his attorney he told her that he had drafted a new will naming her his sole beneficiary. With an idealistic young attorney tailing them, the team sets off to investigate the surprisingly colorful past of the dying tycoon. Nate is in rare form this job, adjusting the con to suit each new bit of information that comes in, until he finally realizes that the answer to Ruth’s problem has been right in front of their eyes all along.
The Lost Heir Job is a surprisingly tight episode. The character interactions are still the high point, from Hardison and Eliot’s turn as guards in a minimum security prison to Parker’s hilarious attempts at portraying a meth addict on the fly, and finishing with the introduction of Jimmy Papadakolis – easily Nate’s most memorable alias over the entire run of the series. The mark is a fully developed character, which helps to create some believable tension as Attorney Peter Blanchard struggles to hold onto the fortune slipping out of his grasp.
When the team is hit with the final reveal of the episode, it’s almost an afterthought – except in how it sets up the final episodes of the season. All in all, a satisfying ride.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “Whoo, yeah! That's why I love the meth.” – ParkerTHE 10 L'IL GRIFTERS JOB
The 10 L’il Grifters Job has a lot of classic elements to it. We start with Nate in costume with thunder crashing outside, being accused of murder. As hooks go, it definitely catches the viewer’s attention.
We’re quickly flashed back to see that the victim is actually our mark – a corrupt builder who has a history of cutting corners with disastrous results. When they learn the incriminating blueprints are likely being stored in Linus Beck’s mansion on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, with no electronic copies anywhere, the team arranges to infiltrate the property during Beck’s annual murder mystery ball. The party provides a perfect cover to delay discovery when Beck turns up dead, allowing them to claim that what looks like a real murder is actually staged for the benefit of the guests.
Unfortunately the real criminals of the piece have recognized the gift they’ve been handed by Nate being on the balcony as Beck is murdered, and they’re not willing to let it go.
The episode is certainly beautiful – the costumes are elaborate, and Sophie is in her element directing the party around the truth of what’s going on – but in the end that’s all the episode really has to offer. Like many of the first handful of season four episodes, Nate seems to be angry for no real good reason, which throws off the character interactions that typically save a weak Leverage episode from collapse. There is also no believable reason given for the team’s willingness to believe that Nate could have killed Beck himself – particularly Eliot, who arguably should have known better.
In the end the viewer is left with Nate drinking away his frustrations alone, and no satisfying payoff for what should have been a much stronger episode.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “But while you're thinking, think about this. Are you climbing into that bottle because of what you think we see when we look at you or because of what you see in the mirror?” – Sophie DevereauxTHE JAILHOUSE JOB
Even though Nate is in prison, The Jailhouse Job is almost a relief after the emotional gut punch of the second season finale. We open on what is obviously a dream sequence, as Sophie describes for Nate the team’s latest plan to break him out of the privately run prison where he’s been sentenced. Nobody is surprised (least of all the viewer) at Nate’s refusal, but circumstances quickly conspire to get him to change his mind. Conversation with one of his fellow inmates clues Nate into a plot by the company running the prison to keep the population artificially high.
The con – an attempt to lure the ambitious warden into believing he has a shot at becoming a United States Senator – is almost an after-thought, as Nate, Parker and Hardison map out a way for Nate to escape and help bring the corrupt officials involved in the conspiracy to justice. Once again it’s the character interactions that make the episode – the team is on form , doing what they do best even as they let Nate know in no uncertain terms that his actions at the end of season 2 have been neither forgiven nor forgotten.
Ironically the weakest moments of the episode belong to what would eventually become Leverage’s first attempt at a season long story arc. The Italian is a badly developed character played by a bad actress, and the idea of a shadow government willing to use the team in order to bring down the ultimate international bad guy drag an otherwise decent episode unforgivably into the realm of cliché. By the time Nate tells Sophie that he’s decided to try being a drunk thief, even the viewers are left wondering if they should follow his example to get through the season.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “When I realize that I tried being a drunk honest man, a sober thief, so I'm gonna try being a drunk thief, you know? Try that for a little while. You're not going to try to save me, are you?” – Nate